When you talk about the beautiful scenery of Scotland, many often instantly think of the Scottish Highlands. Renowned for the numerous lochs and glens, all surrounded by wonderful little villages and plenty of wildlife roaming free, there is little doubt that the Scottish Highlands is one of the most beautiful places in the whole of the country.galloway
The problem is, because of its popularity, other parts of Scotland that are just as beautiful (if not more so) are often overlooked – and Dumfries and Galloway is a prime example.
Located in the south of the country, Dumfries and Galloway is one of those parts of Scotland that people haven’t often heard of. Not home to any world-famous landmarks or cities, it’s not a destination that people usually come across when they’re looking to visit from abroad and it’s one that people very often miss when driving up from England.
However, it’s one that could very easily be classed as the Highlands of the south, due to the astounding beauty of the area.
Take the fact that Dumfries and Galloway is home to some of the rarest animals in Scotland, particularly in terms of amphibians. Including the Natterjack toad and Great Crested Newt, there are few places outside of the area where you can see these animals in their natural habitat.
Caring for the wildlife in the area, there are four RSPB Nature Reserves within the 2,481 square miles of Dumfries and Galloway, located in the Mull of Galloway, Galloway Forest Park, Dee Marshes and Mersehead. Each gives you the ability to see some wonderful wildlife in the best conditions possible. The reserves aren’t heavily promoted outside of the area, yet they’re a perfect example of what Dumfries and Galloway has to offer.
For those looking for more historic attractions, there are some fantastic places of interest that will really whet your appetite.
Home to a number of castles, one of the most notable is Drumlanrig Castle, largely because it was built out of pink sandstone, giving it the nickname of the ‘Pink Palace’. Constructed in the late 17th century, the castle is a shining example of the Renaissance style of the time and with 120 rooms, 17 turrets and four towers, alongside its wonderful gardens, it makes for one of the most beautiful castles in the entire country.
Another great sight to behold is Sweetheart Abbey, which was an active monastery from 1275 to 1624. Bestowed this name after its founder, Dervorguilla of Galloway, was buried with her husband’s embalmed heart upon her death, although much of it is in ruin, there is still plenty in place today that showcases some outstanding examples of architecture from the period, particularly with regard to the nave of the abbey and its bell tower.
What’s more, Dumfries and Galloway is packed full of quaint villages that really offer a true Scottish experience and there are also various lochs for you to enjoy (with Loch Ken being the most popular), as well as plenty of glens for you ramble through.
If you’re looking at a trip to Scotland, whether you’ve been before or not, it’s unlikely you’ve considered Dumfries and Galloway (you might not even have heard of it!). A complete and utter shame if you don’t at least give it a bit of time, it might not be as popular as some of its relatives, but it can undoubtedly offer just as fantastic of a Scottish experience as anywhere else in the country.
Looking for self catering in Dumfries & Galloway? Matthew Bettoli writes for Cottages and Castles, the perfect place to source a holiday cottage.